Local News

Fire Destroys Fayetteville Apartment Complex

Posted December 10, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— On Saturday morning, families inside a Fayetteville apartment building woke up to smoke and flames.

Everyone got out OK, but now they are left without a home.

Investigators believe a little boy, playing with matches, started the fire that destroyed these apartments. The blaze left eight families homeless, two weeks before Christmas.

Wrapped in blankets and still dressed in their pajamas, residents watched helplessly as flames raced through the Beechwood Arms Apartments.

Thirty four people, including 22 children, escaped before the roof collapsed into the upstairs bedrooms.

"My kids and I are walking around with what we've got on," said Margaret Tillman, a resident. "My kids don't even have shoes."

Flames destroyed all eight apartments in this public housing complex, leaving the families with no place to live.

The American Red Cross handed out vouchers for food and clothing, and motel rooms. The victims lost everything from furniture and clothes to Christmas gifts.

"A lot of folks were ready for Christmas," said Ronda Niver of the American Red Cross. "One lady stayed up late putting up her tree and wrapping gifts for her kids."

"We have a lot of kids who don't have any Christmas now," Niver said.

Residents tried to salvage a few belongings that the smoke, flames and water did not ruin.

The fire changed their lives overnight, yet some still found reason to be grateful.

"It's going to be OK, because I'm alive," Nadine Robinson, a victim of the fire. "My children got out, and that's the main thing right there."

The city will try to place residents in another public housing complex. In the meantime, the Red Cross will put them up in a local motel.